Unlocking the doors to your facility, you smile to yourself. You’re sure that anyone coming in today will have a great experience.
But does everyone know they’re welcome in your business space?
It’s a question worth asking because not all your potential customers have the same advantages in life. And because, as a business owner, you have a chance to help raise the tide that lifts all boats.
You likely understand the value of a diverse community. One where residents of different backgrounds have an equal chance to take part. You also care about the people around you.
So in that case, you want to make sure you're supporting something called community equity.
Let's dig into what that is, and how it can help your business thrive.
What is Community Equity?
A lot of people talk about equity as it relates to diversity and inclusion. But what does the term really mean?
According to Merriam Webster, equity is “justice according to natural law or right" and "freedom from bias or favoritism.” There’s also a clear difference between equity and equality. “Equality means the state of being equal, and equity adds the element of justice or fairness.”
Community equity, then, means creating fairness, justice, and impartiality - for all people around us. One university professor puts it especially well. “Whereas equality is giving everyone the same thing, equity is giving individuals what they need.”
What do Equitable Communities and Businesses Look Like?
An equitable community looks like a thriving place. One where people from all backgrounds are encouraged to take part and participate fully in local life.
Community, color, creed, orientation, or economic background make no difference.
When people come to your business in this community, they’re all united under the same umbrella. They’re customers of yours, pure and simple. Each person is there for the same top-notch experience.
An equitable business also tends to give a boost to folks in need. Providing a wheelchair ramp for those with disabilities is a classic example of this. Accepting EBT cards in support of economically disadvantaged people is also equity in action.
In both instances, you’re providing a practical “on ramp” for patrons who otherwise couldn’t access your services or products. You’re also sending out the message: "All are welcome."
How Access to Space Relates to Community Equity
Accessing spaces in the community can be a sensitive or unclear issue for some folks. For example, those from disadvantaged or less prevalent backgrounds may assume they’re not welcome in your space. They may not see people like themselves there, or any signs that they’d be valued as customers.
But there’s strong evidence that the more everyone’s included, the more a community thrives. Social scientists have concluded, "People in more egalitarian countries live longer and have better health outcomes.”
Meanwhile, cities, towns, and neighborhoods in the United States are more diverse than ever before. Americans want to see each other flourish. According to a survey by the National Recreation and Park Association, “Eighty-one percent of U.S. adults want parks and recreation to ensure inclusivity through policies and practices.”
At the end of the day, it’s simple. As we create a culture of building bridges and lifting each other up, we also create more opportunity, connection, and prosperity for everyone.
So, as you run your business or organization, the benefits of inviting the greater public in are clear. The main question remaining is: What are the best ways to reach more people and bring them into our spaces?
How To Promote Greater Access to Your Community Spaces
Renting out your space is the most straightforward and direct way to promote access to it. By renting, you not only open up your facility to wider range of folks, but you create an extra revenue stream while you’re at it!
And when you use the right strategy and technology, it’s actually easy to invite a diverse spectrum of humans into your space.
Here’s what to do.
1. Let people know your spaces are for rent
When you start out, you should assume most people have no idea your spaces are for rent.
Your potential customers could be people who are new to the area or who haven't had a reason to do business with you yet. Or they might be individuals who aren't on the receiving end of your advertisements.
You should also take care with customers who are familiar with your general rental availability. They may not understand how affordable and accessible it is. Or they may not know how to navigate the rental process with confidence.
To reach the greatest number of people, you want to connect with the public both offline and online.
- Offline: Invite locals and their contacts to rent from you by word of mouth, advertisements, or by putting signage up in your business.
- Online: Announce your rental availability on the social media channels where your target audiences spend time. Be inviting! Then, mention your rental spaces again on your website. Use a booking widget if that’s an option through your facility rental software.
Finally, put every space you have available on one searchable and easy-to-use online platform. That way more people from any background have the opportunity to find it. It also makes it extra easy for you to invite new contacts to rent from you!
2. Clarify rental details.
Start with the basics.
If you’re advertising your rental spaces with signage in your place of business or community, include key information such as:
- spatial dimensions
- available times and dates
- contact information
Keep this info handy at your front desk for customers who call or who visit the premises.
Online, include the same information as above in your rental software profile - but with several enticing pictures. Include more granular detail about policies, procedures, amenities, add-ons, and more.
Whether you’re focusing online or off, don’t forget to craft an “all are welcome” message for your community!
3. Welcome your guests with careful attention
Finally, when your guests arrive, take the time to listen and connect with them.
A prominent voice for equity among fitness professionals encourages this: “create an empowering environment for every individual who enters it. People want to feel not only welcomed but understood, embraced, and celebrated.”
This advice also reflects world-class customer service in general. It’s the kind of thing that makes people feel good and have a great time. It also gets the positive word spread about your business and keeps patrons coming back for more!
Getting more people in your extra spaces is easy - and rewarding for everyone!
You see, it doesn’t take much to go the extra mile and make sure everyone in your community is taken care of. When you do this right, it can only mean more patrons and more business!
Taking advantage of modern booking software is the key to making all this work. It's the most effective way to raise awareness of your space. And it makes inviting more community members to enjoy your spaces so easy.
There may even be grants available that businesses can apply for. Oftentimes these can help offset any costs incurred. (such as for a software subscription) So take a look at what’s available to you from your municipal or state government.
Spotz is a searchable facility booking software dedicated to building equity in your community. Watch our 4-minute demo today!